Ms Bonnie Eklom, Manager, Program Operations
Bonnie has significant expertise in program operations and research management, having worked in magement, advisory and support positions for over 10 years in the public and higher education sectors. At the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, where she previously worked as a Poliy and Programs Officer, Bonnie co-created and supported the development of key projects, particularly those relating to enhancing collaborative research activity between the University and the health sector in northern Queensland. She also supported initiatives addressing health workforce capacity in rural, remote, regional and tropical communities. Bonnie has also previously worked at IPAustralia in patent examination and in grants management at the National Helath and Medical Research Council, and is an affiliate Member of the Governance Institute Australia. She has a comprehensive understanding and interest in innovation and health research environment in Australia, with a particular focus on health research and delivery in rural, remote and tropical areas. As Manager, Program Operations for TAAHC, Bonnie provides operational management and strategic support for the development and implementation of TAAHC programs and activities and also serves as the TAAHC Company Secretary.
Emeritus Professor Rhondda Jones AM, Senior Statistical Consultant
Professor Jones is an Emeritus Professor and HDR StatsHelp Coordinator, James Cook University (JCU). She was previously Director, Research Development, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, JCU. She joined TAAHC in late 2022 as the Senior Statistical Consultant for the TAAHC Study design, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Support Service.
Prof Jones’ research experience and publications are primarily in ecology, behaviour, entomology, and in modelling biological systems. She previously worked in research and/or teaching positions at CSIRO (Entomology Division), University of Western Australia, University of British Columbia, University of California at Davis and JCU. Joining JCU as a lecturer in 1977, Rhondda subsequently became Head of JCU's Department of Zoology and the School of Biological Sciences and has supervised over 60 PhD, Masters and Honours student theses. Prof Jones was also Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor at JCU from 1994 until her retirement in 2000; acting Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Central Queensland in 2001, acting Dean of Science and Engineering at JCU in 2003, and held various tertiary education consultancies between 2002 and the present. From 2008 to 2014 Prof Jones worked primarily in a research development role for the then Faculty of Medicine, Health, and Molecular Sciences at JCU and in the provision of data analysis and modelling advice to research students and staff. Other experience includes membership of the Sugar Research and Development Corporation & Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority boards, Australian Research Council funding panels, and several state and federal advisory groups.
Rhondda was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Associate Professor Rae Thomas, Research Education Lead
Dr Rae Thomas is an Associate Professor in Evidence-Based Practice and commenced as the Research Education Lead for the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre in April 2022 . She has taught hundreds of clinicians and researchers in evidence-based practice, research translation skills, conducted research mentoring, co-developed clinician-led research projects, conducted project consultation, and provided HDR and post-doctoral supervision.
Her research has focused on reducing the gap between research evidence and clinical practice. Rae’s passion is to improve evidence-based decision making in clinical practice and to use community engagement strategies to improve health systems and policy. Her program of research has included developing, implementing, and evaluating randomised controlled trials, exploring processes in health decision making, and translating evidence to practice and policy.
Emeritus Professor Ian Wronski AO, Board Chair
Emeritus Professor Ian Wronski AO has over 40 years’ experience in rural, remote, tropical, public and Indigenous health.His career has been focused on the health needs of underserved populations. The main dimensions of activity have included health policy development at local, national and international levels, the development of health workforce capability through the expansion of health professional programs and building health and medical research capacity relevant to tropical, Indigenous, and rural and remote populations, particularly in northern Australia and Australia’s neighbours. He was the first Director of Health Services, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council and Medical Director of the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service.
Having held senior management positions within the university sector, health system and Aboriginal Medical Service settings, Professor Wronski retired as Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University (JCU), in late 2020. Whilst at JCU he led the development of research, education and training programs designed to develop regional research and ameliorate health workforce shortages in regional communities. He was a strong advocate for the foundation of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) and for the establishment of the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre. Professor Wronski also provided intellectual leadership, nationally and internationally, in focusing attention on health issues of importance to rural, remote, regional, Indigenous and tropical populations.
Ian has Fellowship status in public health, tropical and rural and remote medicine through the relevant Australian specialist colleges. In 2014 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to higher education, particularly in the areas of tropical and rural health and the health of Indigenous Australians. A recipient of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine Medal and the Life Sciences Queensland Industry Excellence Award, he was invested as a Life Fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.